WILLIAMSBURG — Just when it appeared Mikel Chalmers would single-handedly carry New Kent to its first playoff appearance in 10 years, Devonte Dedmon made a surprise appearance to ruin it.
After missing three straight games with a knee injury, Dedmon had 88 total yards in three touchdowns — all in the final 15 minutes — as Warhill rallied for a 19-17 win Thursday night at Wanner Stadium. Dedmon's 1-yard touchdown with 32 seconds left was the winner.
"He ignites a passion," Lions coach Obie Boykin said. "He bleeds Warhill blue. He has other things beyond high school, but he loves it and we let him go tonight.
"We needed a spark and he helped bring out that intensity. In the six games he played and the three he didn't, he's been our vocal leader. You can see what a great leader he is."
It was Senior Night, and Dedmon clearly wanted to be a part of it. He didn't play in the first half as New Kent (2-8, 2-7 Bay Rivers District) took a 3-0 lead. But after Chalmers' made it 10-0 on a 3-yard run with 3:09 left in the third, Dedmon took the field.
His first carry: a 20-yard run for a touchdown.
"If he was a junior, he probably wouldn't have done anything tonight," Boykin said. "But it would have been a shame if he couldn't finish out his career tonight."
Chalmers (41 carries, 194 yards) scored again with 10:06 left to make it 17-7. But Warhill answered quickly with Dedmon's 31-yard touchdown pass to his younger brother, Keron, to make it 17-13 with 7:53 left.
With Chalmers running behind a huge offensive line, Warhill (2-8, 2-7) looked to be in trouble. But the Lions got the stop they needed and set up a fourth-and-13 from the New Kent 42 with 3 minutes left.
The Trojans lined up in punt formation but called a fake. Davion Barnes got to midfield but was 5 yards short of the first down.
Warhill used up nearly 90 seconds to take two snaps and gain 2 yards. But on third-and-8, Keron Dedmon completed a 17-yard pass to Jake Eubanks, who made a terrific one-handed catch at the New Kent 30-yard line.
On the next play, Devonte ran 18 yards to the 12. On the next, he ran 11 yards up the middle to set up first-and-goal at the 1.
And on the next play, he scored.
The loss ended any hopes New Kent had of making the playoffs. The Trojans entered tied for the No. 16 seed in Group 3A East.
WARHILL 19, NEW KENT 17
NK: Rountree FG 24, :00.